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Free Study Guide-Moby Dick by Herman Melville-Free Booknotes Summary
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Chapter 127

Summary

The following day, the Pequod meets a massive ship ‘the Rachel.’ Ahab calls out to the captain and asks him if he has seen the white whale. The captain replies, "Aye yesterday." He asks Ahab if his ship has seen a whaling boat on the sea. Ahab, unable to hide his excitement, asks him where he had sighted Moby Dick, and if he has been killed. To this, the captain says that three of his boats had been lowered for the chase. One of the boats, which the captain’s own son was in, struck the white whale, but the whale dragged the boat along with it at a great speed. The boat has disappeared since then.

The commander asks Ahab to help him look for the missing boat. He is even ready to pay for the time given by the Pequod, but Ahab refuses to help and asks the commander to leave his ship. The Pequod then sets off to look for Moby Dick.


Notes

The reader gets another glimpse of Ahab’s obsession for Moby Dick. In his deep-set hatred for and single-minded determination to destroy Moby Dick, he does not seem to care for other people at all and refuses to join in the search for the captain’s lost boat. People are used ruthlessly by Ahab only to further him in his mission to kill the white whale. His refusal to aid the captain reveals how far he has removed himself from the whole of humanity. Despite his pronouncements that he will rid the world of evil by killing the white whale, in fact, Ahab has become evil himself, full of malicious intent.

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